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Locked Topic
[Evaluated]Hard Rains Start As Drizzles
Topic Started: 6 Mar 2018, 05:53 PM (198 Views)
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x1 Green ApricornPosted Image

Golden rays pierced through the scattered branches above, the soft midday breeze blowing through the forest while the two travelers tried to not to fall, their legs tired from running in half an hour a distance that they should have walked in three. Luna was the first to kneel down, fighting the urge to throw up a breakfast she hadn’t even eaten.

”And that…” She muttered, taking long and heavy breaths. ”Is why we don’t go to the Valley...”

Josh panted, bent over as he looked at Luna. His red hair was matted, clinging to his face as he fanned his face with his hat. “Still, I’d…” His voice trailed off as he caught his breath. “I’d love to go see that windmill again.”

The young woman rolled over her back, staring at the bright sky while gasping for air. ”Sure... why not?” She chuckled, feeling light as the sky seemed to slowly turn to the side. ”I can always add another near-death experience to my CV...” With all the strength left in her body, Luna managed to balance herself back to a sitting position. ”So… how is your first week in Godai going? Having fun?”

Josh glared openly at her. ”Nobody has used an electrode to try to blow up a building. So I’d say going well so far.”

”Just give it some time.” She waved it off with a little smile.

Once her lungs stopped aching and the wasn’t spinning anymore, Luna decided it was time to stand up and keep walking. It wasn’t until that moment that she noticed the sharp pain running through her right hand, with her mind still a little clouded with adrenaline, she had troubles pinpointing the memory linked to the dark smudge on blood and dirt in her palm.

”Oh…” She muttered, scrunching up her nose at the ugly and already closed wound. ”Dammit…”

Josh stopped fanning himself to look at her. One eyebrow rose slightly as he looked at her with concern. “Everything alright?”

”Yeah…” She answered, looking inside her bag. ”I just need to reopen the wound to clean it, no biggie.” Her voice was as reassuring as possible, though the knife she pulled out looked oddly out of place in her small hands.

As expected, she was having problems using her non-dominant hand.

Josh frowned as he watched her, trying to figure out what she was doing. He shrugged as she fumbled with the knife, tilting his head. ”If you say so… Do you need help?” He asked, fighting an urge to wince as it looked like she was trying to take a finger off.

”Oh, no, don’t worry!” She was quick to answer, almost stabbing her hand again. ”I’m used to this!”

She didn’t make a sound while working, flinching every now and then yet managing to stay completely silent through the whole process while Josh just stared, almost expecting her to lose a finger every time she moved the knife. It took a long, awkward silence worth of time until she finally got to the skin, the wound open and bleeding once again.

”See, easy!” She smiled, showing him her wound with more proud than necessary.

”Yeah…” Josh said, purposefully avoiding looking at the wound. He waited for her to finish bandaging it as he shifted uncomfortably on his feet. Trying to keep his mind occupied, he started rummaging around in his pockets, trying to figure out how he wanted his pokeballs.

It bothered him that he had so many. He’d never wanted to be a trainer, though he knew much of the basic principles. It seemed more of a lifestyle suited to other people, and he’d gone from one pokemon which gave him headaches to several new ones, each with their own issues. Part of him wondered if he could just give them away, there had to be someone who wanted them more than he did.

However, he was only able to stay in Godai due to the Trainer Initiative. How long could he go without looking like he was at least trying? The grace period for progress couldn’t be unlimited. It was highly likely that any long-term plans would have to involve getting a gym badge.

”That should do!” Luna's voice interrupted his thoughts. She was done patching her hand and changing the bandage on her foot. ”I don’t think it will need stitching, though I can't be sure. But I suck at stitching wounds, anyway.” She kept on talking, taking a couple of steps to test her injured foot.”Oh, by the way, I didn’t want to use water to clean the wound, since we don't have a lot, so I kinda used most of the rubbing alcohol. So, try not to get too hurt your-” Luna stopped mid-sentence, finally looking up at him. She tilted her head to the side and the tone of her voice changed completely. ”What's wrong?”

Josh shook his head. He realized he’d been standing there with two pokeballs just held out in his hands, blank look on his face. ”I’m fine. I think we’re safe, so why don’t we rest and give everybody some food?” He hastily stuffed the pokeballs into an interior pocket on his duster, hoping Luna wouldn’t point out he’d just suggested letting the pokemon free for a little bit.

And of course she was going to do right that.

”Are you… are you being nice… to the pokemon?” She asked with exaggerated surprise, before cutting the distance between them and putting a hand on his forehead. ”Do you feel okay? Are you running a fever?” She jokingly asked in between little giggles.

Josh’s eyes narrowed. ”Just because they annoy me doesn’t mean I can’t be grateful for their assistance.” His tone was colder than he meant, and he couldn’t help but wonder why he was defending his actions.

Luna’s eyes opened with surprise, her hand falling slowly as she stared up at him. ”My…” She whispered, almost like she was talking to herself. ”I hadn’t noticed… but you really look cute when you’re trying to be mean.” And, without waiting for an answer, she turned around and kept walking, muttering about things she needed to add to her Research Journal.

Josh frowned, making sure to avoid her gaze as he continued walking. The forest was relatively silent until they reached a small campsite set aside for travelers, and he sat on a log, relishing in the chance to relax for a little bit. He dug through his pockets, completely forgetting where he’d put the new pokeballs, and ending up turning out the contents of most of his pockets before finding what he was looking for.

The Murkrow and Grubbin were in bad shape. He set aside a little bit of kibble for them, then turned his attention to the other pokemon on his team. Bounsweet lacked the general energy she’d had for most of the journey, but her wounds had started to heal. Gabby, an energetic Rhyhorn that was as dangerous as she was friendly, was currently trying to get the small grass type to play with her, while the enigmatic Frillish merely observed.

”Gabby, don’t harass Bounsweet.” Josh ordered. His command earned him a quizzical look, and the rock type started investigating a fallen log, nearly knocking it into a ditch as she rubbed it with her nose.

Luna just looked from the side in silence, mimicking his actions as she pulled her own pokemon out for a quick inspection. Sensei, her new Oricorio, was as colorful and energetic as one would expect from a dancing bird. Midnight was fine too, tired after battling and with his Hoothoot instincts calling for him to get some sleep, but fine. Minior’s pokeball went back to her bag almost instantly, as Luna tried to avoid thinking about the poor creature’s situation, repeating to herself that everything would be fine as soon as they reached the Pokemon Center.

Now, the problem was the other two…

”... Sunrise?” She tried to call the Farfetch'd, who just opened an eye and stared at the empty space behind her. Shaking her head, Luna let out a sigh, ”No Sunrise until we reach the town, I guess…” She put the confused duck beside Midnight and left the two birds to cuddle together, before changing her attention to the little bat in front of her. ”Now…” She held the knocked-out Noibat up. ”... what am I going to do with you?”

She shook her softly, trying to not be too hard on the little bat but still wanting for her to wake up.

That was her first mistake.

”NYA!” The Noibat screamed, furiously flying straight to her chest and clinging to Luna’s sweater with all four tiny claws.

”Wonderful. Does it always do that?” Josh asked, trying to get the Murkrow to eat. She looked terrible, with several broken or torn feathers making it look like she’d been beaten up. It took him a moment to realize that she had.

Luna just shrugged, trying to pry the little bat away yet only managing to open bigger holes in her already beaten down green sweater. Parts of pale skin and black cloth were starting to appear underneath it.

”Dude, seriously, let go already!” She complained, but the Noibat just held tighter to her, nuzzling against her chest with all the excitement of a newly adopted puppy. ”I am not your mother!”

It wasn’t until Gabby entered her field of vision that the Noibat finally left go of Luna’s sweater, instead softly pulling her hair in the Rhyhorn’s direction. “Look at me!”, said her big yellow eyes, “Look what I can do!”. Before Luna could say something, the little bat had already jumped from her shoulder, attempting to dive at Gabby. The young woman could do nothing to stop Noibat from crashing head first against the solid mass of rock that was the Rhyhorn’s leg.

”... but why, though?” She asked out loud, as she got closer to inspect the little creature.

Before she could touch her, the Noibat was up again, pretending that embarrassing attempt of an attack hadn’t happened.

”Orya!” She screamed again, trying to scratch Gabby’s thick skin and turning to look at Luna with an out of place pride for someone that wasn’t getting anywhere.

Luna just stared, understanding even less every second that passed.

”... why are you doing this?” She asked the little creature. ”Are you trying to impress me? Is this some kind of courtship or mating ritual?” She kneeled down beside the bat, trying to be as close to her height as possible. ”You can’t do that, I’m not even your same species.”

Josh just snorted. Gabby didn’t seem to be hurt by the pokemon’s attempts to attack it, so he didn’t give it too much attention.

”Orya!” Noibat cried again, annoyed at how the girl wasn’t understanding her very clear message. Without sparing another second, she dived towards Luna’s bag and held a pokeball above her head. ”Nya!” She screamed, before throwing the sphere in the general direction of the resting Murkrow.

This time, Luna understood the message loud and clear.

The girl made no sound as she fell to her knees, her ears burning red as she tried to hide her face inside her sweater, memories of the battle with Murkrow coming back to haunt her.

It just had to be that moment.

Josh just stared as the Murkrow started screeching itself and rustling its feathers in an agitated manner. ”What on earth is all this about?”

Without looking up, Luna pointed a finger at the little bat. ”She liked it when I hit Murkrow in the face with Sunrise’s pokeball and called her out.” She muttered. ”With that kind of body language, I think that what she has been trying to say is ‘That was really cool! Please become my trainer!’”

Josh shrugged. ”Maybe you are destined to be a Falconer. Worst case scenario, you two can be a comedy show or something.” He said, a smile on his face.

”Well, I did write ‘fly’ on that ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ homework...” She whispered, looking up only to have the little bat cling to her sweater once again. ”But that’s not the point!” She exclaimed, falling backwards and covering her face with her hands while her ears turned red again. ”I’m not like that! I… I don’t do those things usually!” She tried to justify herself with any excuse she could find, before stopping to look at him. ”I don’t!” She cried out in a tiny, flustered voice, her face bright red with embarrassment only making her green eyes stand out more.

Josh coughed a little as he looked away, shifting his stance uncomfortably. He turned his attention to Grubbin and the Murkrow, the latter of which was watching Luna with a single eye. It turned that gaze on Josh, as if studying him.

”What do you want?” He demanded of the bird. It gave him another studying gaze, as if expecting something of him. It seemed to Josh that it was trying to figure out if he and Luna were together. Or, rather, were they both going to threaten and attack the small black bird for its previous actions.

Murkrow, let out a small caw, flapping her wings and gliding backwards a foot or two. She let out a louder caw, trying to put as much force as she could into it. It was almost as if the small bird was hoping that the noise would drive the bat back.

Josh turned as he heard a sound behind him, only to find Grubbin was trying to gouge the earth with its pincers. For a brief moment, Josh expected it to dig a hole, but the bug seemed content to just coat itself with dirt and hunker down.

Luna’s pokemon paid little attention to the scene, tired as they were, Midnight and Sunrise had already fallen asleep while her new Oricorio hid behind them, trying to figure out what kind of group he had just joined. The only one that seemed to care was Noibat, who turned to the side and screeched at Murkrow, jumping from Luna’s lap and standing tall in an attempt to look intimidating.

”You’re like a foot tall... what are you even trying to look like?” Luna asked, dumbfounded. ”... for starters, neither of you can fight! Just hold hands and go back to the Valley!”

”I don’t think they have hands…” Josh commented. He looked at the commotion and shook his head. ”Well, the good news is we’re going to release them, right?”

”First of all, bats do have hands. And second, I hope that at least you are planning to release that thing She glared at the Murkrow. ”It tried to kidnap Midnight.”

Josh fought the urge to stare at her. ”I thought you said both?”

”If she wants to leave, she can leave” Luna said, pointing to Noibat. ”But that thing is not staying.”

Josh sighed. He turned to the Murkrow and held out the pokeball he’d carried it in. ”Alright, I guess you’re safe now, so I’m going to release you.” He started to hold out the ball.

“Kraw!” The bird replied, its tone full of anger. It knocked the ball aside and glared at Josh, then at Luna. Shaking its tail feathers, it purposefully settled on Josh’s shoulders as if in spite. The sharp talons would have gone through his shirt easily, and he was glad he was wearing the heavy oilskin coat.

He gave Luna an apologetic look and started pushing the ball towards Murkrow again. The bird rapped him with her beak, causing him to flinch, which caused her to grip his shoulder painfully.

The girl jumped in surprise, her anger quickly dissolving in worry. ”Hey!” She scolded the bird, holding it by the beak and trying to pry it out of Josh’s shoulder. ”Let go! You’re gonna hurt him!”

The Noibat was clinging to her sweater once again, screeching at the bird as she tried to scratch it, making the situation more complicated than it already was.

With a sigh, Josh took a step away from Luna, hoping that the creatures would calm down.

“Easy, if you two have to fight, don’t drag me into it!” He barked, though it didn’t seem to have much of an effect.

”Why can’t you two just calm down?!” Luna growled to both pokemon, oblivious to how the four were starting to tangle as the situation advanced. ”This is exactly why I don’t want kids…”

Things were starting to get out of control, between the feathers and claws it was difficult to calculate distances or see where they were standing. It was only a matter of time before another problem happened.

”Annoying piece of-” Luna never got to finish the sentence, as she tried to pull the Murkrow once again, her injured foot gave out and she fell backwards, pulling everyone along with her.

There was a squawk and a screech, followed by two small bodies taking flight as they fled. The Noibat and Murkrow had finally agreed on something, just in time for Luna to collide with something warm that smelled faintly like perfume. It was a familiar and sweet scent that she could still remember from their time in Acrelea.

”Ugh…” Josh groaned, his hands pushing against Luna as he tried to get her elbow away from his kidney.

”We really need to stop meeting like this…” She muttered against his chest, her face bright red as she tried to push him and put some distance between them. The lack of space was making her feel more uncomfortable than usual and the sweet smell was starting to cloud her head.

“Luna... “

She couldn’t understand. The smell wasn’t really strong, yet she was getting dizzy, and though there was a soft breeze flowing through the forest, she felt suffocated, almost like she was running a fever.

“Luna!” She snapped at the sound of her name, surprised and confused in equal parts. Josh was almost shouting at her. “Are you alright? You’re kind of just laying there…”

”... what?” She could still feel her head spinning. It took her awhile, but after taking a breath of fresh air and blinking a lot she finally managed to pull herself together. ”Oh… oh, yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry…” She muttered, carefully standing up. Her legs felt unstable and she could swear that, for some unknown reason, there was a strange pressure on her chest.

As if by habit, she put two fingers on her neck and tried to read her heartbeat. She was no medic, but she was almost completely sure that it was a little faster than it should.

”... do I have a cold?” She asked to herself in a whisper, yet her symptoms had already started to disappear.

What a strange thing to happen.

Josh dusted his pants off after he stood. He looked at Luna, trying to figure out what was wrong. “You don’t look sick.” He offered. “I think you’re fine…”

Silence settled between them as Luna turned around to look at him with surprise.

He paled. “I mean you look fine!” He corrected himself. ”As in not sick. You don’t look like you’re sick.” He finally settled for a description after fighting with the words for a moment. That wasn’t the first time he messed up with the language since coming to Godai, but it was the most embarrassing one by far.

Luna just chuckled at his reaction, feeling her head light. ”Don’t worry, I understood.” She turned to look at the pokemon, giving Noibat and Murkrow a long stare. ”Now… what are we gonna do with these two?”

Josh shrugged. “I’m not sure. Ideas?” He shook his head. Dealing with stuff like this wasn’t his forte. He preferred books over creatures that spat fire.

”Just… just let it be.” Luna answered after a moment, tired. ”It’ll eventually get bored and go back to the Valley.”

”Yeah, sure.” He looked at the other pokemon, which were looking at the two of them with wide eyes. “Guess it's time to move on?”

They returned the pokemon to their pokeballs and, though Luna tried to leave her behind, the Noibat clung to her chest once again, opening more holes in her sweater. After trying to pull her proved to only worsen the situation of her poor sweater, Luna decided to just let her do whatever she wanted.

The sun was still high in the sky when they got to the main road of the forest.

WC: 3726
"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."Hogfather - Terry Pratchett

Luna Nocte

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As expected of the main road of such a transited place as Skytouch, it was brimming with life and energy. Unlike the quiet passages of Acrealea to which they had already gotten used, Skytouch was not only filled with pokemon and plants of the most different forms and colors, but also dozens of persons coming and going. Being a crossroad and a relatively calm area, it wasn’t uncommon for travellers and novice trainers to cross the forest every once in a while.

Luna shivered at the thought and started walking slower, almost as if trying to hide on Josh’s shadow.

Boots scuffed on cracked pavement as Josh walked, his lips pursed. He was considering what to do about the Murkrow, and what he would do if he could find some actual work in his field.

”Is everything okay?” Luna asked in a whisper, getting a little closer to him to make sure he could hear her. ”You stopped walking a while ago… though I wouldn’t complain if we stayed out of the main road…” She added the last part in a volume that was even below a whisper, an ability she had mastered after years talking to herself.

He shook his head, as if trying to clear his thoughts. ”I was just wondering…” He hesitated, then cleared his throat. ”Bounsweet, Grubbin and Murkrow, they don’t want to leave me, apparently. Just… What if they have to…” He shook his head with more energy. ”Nevermind, it's silly. I’m just tired.”

Luna just stared at him with confusion. ”If they don’t want to leave and you don’t want to leave, then no one has to leave.” She answered, taking her headphones out of her bag as they got closer to the other people. ”Pokemon are known for being incredibly loyal. If they want to stay with you, they’ll always find a way to come back to you.” She kept silent for a moment, before continuing with the motion of putting on her headphones. ”But, anyway, it’s… unexpected to hear you worrying about such a thing.” She mentioned more serious than normal, as if trying to make sure he would understand this time she wasn’t poking fun at him. ”Most people never get to worry about such a thing as getting separated from their pokemon.”

Josh didn’t answer. He huffed slightly, and picked up his pace.

She followed him close from behind with a worried look on her face, she had the feeling that there was something more worrying him, but didn’t want to press too much. And, as in many other occasions, she left the conversation go and disappear in the air as the worry mixed with the growing anxiety in her stomach.

But everything felt better when the music started coming out of her headphones, filling her head with the sound of an energetic baterist going wild on the drums, making her heart jump with every beat. There was still worry and anxiety boiling inside her, but to Luna the world always felt simpler and further away when people’s voices were blocked by some loud Power Metal.

The louder the better.

They kept walking at a fast pace in silence, close to the border of the path and the shadow of the trees where there was less people. Neither of them wanted to stand out too much, and Josh soon noticed that Luna was quite the expert in avoiding others. She didn’t come in contact with other person, always stopping short from crashing with someone, and walking without making any sound. If it wasn’t because she was sticking so close to him that he could hear the music coming from her headphones, he would have forgotten her existence after a couple of minutes.

Or until that moment when he suddenly stopped and she crashed against his back.

Luna peeked from beside him, unaware of the moment her hands took hold of his arm to use it as a shield. There was a group of people in front of them blocking most of the road and they seemed to be surrounding something, as more passerbys stopped to take a look. There was shouting and, even when they couldn’t see what was happening, it was obvious by cheers and orders that what was causing the commotion was a pokemon battle.

Josh exchanged a quick glance with Luna, as they agreed in silence that they had no reason to stop and what.

”Change! Go, Dustox!”

”Oh, yeah?! Well, I’m gonna change too! C’mon, Gligar!”

Both pokemon appeared in a flash of silver light, flying high as they clashed head first against each other. Luna frowned and digged her nails in Josh’s arm as she watched the two creatures trying to take the other down at the order of their trainers, biting her lip a little harder every time they managed to hurt their opponent.

The weird moth like pokemon opened with some sort of cloud, filling the impromptu battlefield with yellow powder. Josh looked at Luna, who shook her head. Looking back, he saw the clouds dissipated long before they got to the two observers.

The Gligar spiraled in midair, spinning to keep its head from the worst of the cloud. As the air cleared, it responded with a fast strike, seeming to vanish and reappear before the Dustox could react.

Letting out a cry, the Dustox nearly hit the ground as it tried to recover from the overwhelming strike. One of its wings was bent, and it seemed to be in pain.

”Gligar is unbeatable!” the Pokemon’s Trainer declared.

”I don’t want to see…” Luna muttered, burying her face in Josh’s arm.

The proud Trainer’s face screwed up in frustration, and he clapped his hands. ”Dustox, use psybeam!”

The moth circled twice, trying to line up a shot on the Gligar. It had to dodge another strike, but ended up hitting the pink flying Pokemon point blank. Josh had to wince as the psychic attack rolled over he and Luna.

Opening his eyes, he chuckled a little, causing Luna to jump. The Gligar seemed to be having trouble staying in the air, occasionally turning to screech at foes that weren't there.

”What happened? Is it over?” Luna asked with worry.

Josh frowned, ”Not sure, I don’t know either of these Pokemon.”

Oblivious to the two watchers, the battle resumed. Gligar tried to respond, but ended up clipping a tree branch and falling to the earth with a painful thump. The impact stirred up some remaining traces of the yellow clouds, which swirled around the limp form of the Gligar.

”Yeah, Dustox, now use Moonight!”

The moth Pokemon fluttered, then seemed to glow. No, rather it seemed to trap sunlight around itself in a bluish aura, which vanished in a flash. As the after images of the flash faded, the Pokemon seemed to have recovered some of the vitality it had lost.

Josh nudged Luna, ”I’m new to the whole battling thing, is that allowed?”

”Healing moves? Yeah, though they require quite the amount of energy.” She responded peeking from behind his arm. ”Moonlight isn’t particularly good at this time of day, it would have been better to go with Poison Powder and max defense with Harden until the confusion and poison made Gligar faint.” She commented, so low only he could hear.

“That seems overly complicated. Better to just attack and finish them.”

Luna shook her head. ”It’s pretty simple, and uses two attacks that every Dustox has known for most of their lives, so the possibility of failure is low. Plus, those attacks consume little energy, that makes it easy to be prepared in case you need to take a more aggressive position later on.” She explained

Josh took off his hat to correct a strand of hair that had been annoying him. “If you say so. You can't always count on such things working.” He sighed, having grown bored of the battle. He started to look around for the best way to start moving on.

Luna hummed, flinching again when the two pokemon clashed together. ”I guess you could be right.” She muttered as she hid behind his arm again. ”Not that it really matters, at the end of the day a pokemon battle is just a fight of endurance. An strategy is not needed for it, you just hit each other face first until someone passes out.”

Josh nodded slowly, his thoughts elsewhere. He started to open his mouth, as if to speak, but decided to keep it closed.

Eventually, the sounds of combat faded away, quickly becoming lost in the normal life and movement of the forest. The pokeball holding Murkrow felt heavy at his belt, and he briefly had the absurd idea to keep the bird. It might come in handy.

Luna noticed his hand briefly touching one of his pokeballs, in what for her seemed like a protective motion, and she couldn’t help but smile to herself. There was something in the action, in how he didn’t seem to notice what he was doing, that made her chest feel warm. She wondered which pokeball was getting such gentle attention, her head tilted to the side as she counted them. She wasn’t sure if Josh was aware of it, but, if her research was correct, he always put his pokeballs in the same order: starting from the right with Bounsweet and from older to newer.

She counted them once, a little smile on her face. Then she counted them again, the smile now gone. By the third time, Luna knew exactly whom that pokeball belonged to, and she wasn’t happy with her answer.
Edited by Chaos_1x, 5 May 2018, 01:21 PM.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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”Gru!” The small bug pokemon rooted around in the dirt as Josh and Luna discussed their options. Given that it had grown up in the forest, Josh was hoping it would be able to watch for any danger, since Sunrise wasn’t in any state to fight. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that.

Grubbin, however, seemed to have its own idea about what it should be doing. It was digging through the dirt and underbrush, sending leaves and dirt flying. Josh let out a sigh, turning towards Luna.

”Shouldn’t we get back to the road?” He asked her.

She was bent over a small pile of stones, studying them as if just looking might reveal the mystery of how they had come to be piled there. Josh was about to ask again when she shook her head.

“No way, I’m about to reach my social limit.” Luna offered. “We are cutting through a bend.” She waved a finger through the air in a loop, showing what she meant.

”Ru!” Grubbin declared, pulling a green orb from the underbrush. It played with the orb using its pincers, then started holding it up as it ran about the two humans. Josh nearly stepped on the Pokemon twice as he tried to keep track of its movements.

“Oh!” Luna exclaimed, pointing at Grubbin. Or tried to anyways, it seemed pretty excited about what it had discovered.

”It it dangerous?” Josh asked, reaching for Grubbin’s pokeball just in case.

She stopped pointing, staring at him for a long while before covering her mouth and giggling. “Dangerous? It’s an Apricorn!” She tapped Midnight’s pokeball for emphasis. “It’s considered good luck to find one.”

Josh stopped Grubbin with his boot, pulling the orb from its grasp with only minor resistance. He turned the hard shell over in his hand, frowning suspiciously. ”How is this any good?”

Luna looked at Josh as if he’d declared the sky was mauve. She looked at the apricorn, then back at him. ”What do you…? Do you not…?” She sighed, letting her shoulders fall as she stopped trying to gesture with her hands. “Do you even know what an apricot is?”

Josh only seemed more puzzled, ”A hard green ball. Biology wasn’t my specialty.” He offered, with only a touch of sarcasm.

She blinked in disbelief, ”Biology?! This is common knowledge!” She exclaimed. ”It’s the ancestor of pokeballs!”

Josh didn’t seem to understand any more than he did before. He hefted the green shell in his hand, then shrugged. ”So what, you just throw it at pokemon?” He sighed, ”My field of study was history and linguistics, not…” He seemed to be struggling for a word, ”This.” He waved the Apricorn at her.

It’s pokemon training 101! Luna’s disbelief was almost painful to see. ”You find an Apricorn, you take it to a craftsman and they make a pokeball out of it. It’s literally…” She stopped before going any further, her voice’s pitch had become higher as she spoke and that was never a good sign. The higher it became, the more probable the other person would find her annoying. ”You know what? It doesn’t matter. I’ll show you how to use them once we reach Wisteur.” She exhaled, fixing the straps of her green backpack.

Josh offered a half hearted nod in agreement. He didn’t seem pleased with the way the conversation had gone. He huffed a little as he stuffed the small object into a reachable bag pocket. There was an obvious effort to avoid looking at Luna as he started down the game trail.

Again, they walked in the heavy silence that always seemed to follow them. Even so, Luna kept her headphones down, feeling calmer now that they weren’t surrounded by people. The loud sound of guitars and voices poured from the big, blue headphones, almost like a movie’s background music, but with poor quality.

Luna’s bright green eyes were focused on Josh while they walked, as usual. She took careful notice of every movement he made, connecting it with all the information she had on him, creating new hypothesis whenever she found a pattern and reminding herself to write them down as soon as she could.

He stopped, suddenly, and she stopped right besides him, looking around for the reason of the action. A smile crossed her face as he waited for Grubbin to climb over a small rut in the path. The bug type let out an appreciative squeak as it took its place at his side.


Everything about him was fascinating. How he tried to pretend not to care, but always stopped to wait for everyone. How he always frowned after smiling, as if he had caught himself doing something wrong.

Fascinating. Everything about him was fascinating. Every time she discovered something new about him a new hypothesis was created, a new question was made… and now she had so many that she couldn’t decide which one she wanted answers for first.

Her mouth was faster than her mind, “How did you meet Bounsweet?” She asked, jumping at how loud her voice sounded in the relative quiet of the day. Josh’s steps faltered, and she briefly wondered if he would be angry.

”Met a man in an alley. Needed a Pokemon to finish the Trainer Initiative registration, so I got what they could spare. Just like everything, really.” He sounded a touch bitter, and shook his bag for emphasis. The noise caused Grubbin to jump back a little, though it didn’t flee like he would have expected it to.

”... in an alley?” She asked with a frown.

”Yeah, the dark places between buildings.” He paused, as if thinking, ”Those are alleys, right?”

Luna blinked, ”Right word, but wrong place to meet people.” She pointed out. Want some advice? Never say you got something from someone in an alley and that you’re from Arkeido on the same conversation, unless you want to spend the afternoon being interrogated for drug trafficking.” She suggested, her eyes turning darker as she remembered every encounter her mother had with the cops.

Josh frowned. ”And here I thought I left this kind of stuff behind. Thought Godai was supposed to be free from that sort of stuff?”

”No one is free from some good old racism… but you don’t look that arkeidan, so I guess everything will be okay as long as you don’t say a word.” She muttered to herself. ”Too bad, though, I like you accent a lot.”

Josh’s head snapped forward so fast Grubbin started looking around for anything that might attack. He struggled to speak for a little bit to respond, then gave up. As a last ditch effort, he changed the subject.

”What about you and your bird. Midnight? How did you meet?”

Luna turned to look at him, eyes clouded as she got lost in her head. ”Us?” She wondered out loud. ”It isn’t much of a story… Five years ago m-the Professor and I were doing some research in the Woods. I was out collecting samples when I came across a pack of Houndooms hunting down a single Hoothoot. I panicked, my feet were faster than my mind and, before I knew it, I was holding him close to my chest, the pack of Houndooms on my heels as I ran towards the camping site.” She said, looking down at Midnight’s pokeball. Her voice became sweeter as she talked about him. ”He was so small back then, probably just hatched from the egg… I could hold him on one hand.”

Luna’s hand caressed the pokeball covered in little scratches as she got lost in her memories.
”He’s been with me ever since, always looking after me and protecting me from everything and everyone.”

”Explains how angry he seems towards me…” Josh offered. He started to say something else, but paused, then shrugged and started walking.

Luna stayed silent until they climbed up the berm onto the road again. The sun had already passed its zenith, and was beginning its slow descent towards the horizon. The clouds had also begun to darken, worryingly so.
"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."Hogfather - Terry Pratchett

Luna Nocte

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It was clear by early afternoon that the mood between Josh and Luna was clearing up quicker than the weather. Though they hadn’t heard thunder yet, there was the scent of rain heavy on the air, and the clouds had started to thicken.

”The leaves are starting to turn over…” Luna noted, pointed at the brighter green undersides that were pointed towards the darkening sky.

Josh tilted his head quizzically. ”And?”

She smiled knowingly, a glint of excitement in her eyes. “It means rain.”

”Sounds like you find that a good thing.” Josh said.

Luna started to reply, but a shrill call silenced her. Both she and Josh looked around, but it was Grubbin that noticed the newcomer. It half burrowed itself as a shadow passed over the group, a Pidgeot had nearly divebombed the two humans as it came in for a landing.

Fears that it might be wild were quickly done away with as the pokemon fished a parcel from its leg pouch and dropped it at Josh’s feet. There was a gust of wind as it lifted from the ground, and the large bird was gone.

”Again?” Josh asked, bending over to pick up the paper wrapped package. The brown paper unfolded to reveal a pokeball.

”Like I said, secret admirer or way too many cowboys in the middle of nowhere.” Luna joked, a note of concern slipping through her voice.

If this happened again, it would be good to start worrying.

He tossed the pokeball out, and a long slender pokemon appeared. It said nothing as it surveyed the situation it found itself in.

”A sword?” Josh looked at Luna to see if she might have any insight. ”What kind of pokemon is a sword?”

Luna practically tossed him to the side when she pushed her way to the front.

”A Honedge!” She exclaimed, walking around the pokemon like a predator stalking its prey. ”I have only seen them in books, they’re quite shy...”

He frowned, and the sword seemed to meet his gaze with similar disdain. ”Why be shy if you are a floating weapon? Hold on…” He turned his head, glancing at the blue ribbon connected to Honedge’s pommel. ”Its holding something.” He held the dark stone aloft for Luna to see.

”Oh, a Dusk Stone!” Luna clapped, eyes shining like little stars. ”So pretty! You can use it to evolve some pokemon like Misdreavus, and Honedge’s evolution, Doublade, and Lampent and…” Luna’s smile twitched as her excitement turned into cold hatred. ”And no one else.” She added,nodding to herself. ”“Nope, no one else. Now put that thing somewhere safe.”

Josh gave Luna a suspicious look, but didn’t comment as he recalled Honedge and stashed the Dusk Stone in a reachable pocket on his bag. He considered a moment before recalling Grubbin as well.

The depths of the forest seemed almost magical in the light of the high sun. In the shadowy places wisps of mist still twirled in the damp air, appearing as brief flashes of white in the corner of the eye.

Josh and Luna refilled their water bottles at a stream that passed through a hollowed trunk, forming a small waterfall off the suspended end into a crystal clear pool below. Luna’s knuckles were white from the icy cold as she soaked some bandages and wiped off her own wounds.

”We should probably take the pokemon out, see how their wounds are doing” She suggested, holding one end of her bandage with her healthy hand and the other with her mouth. ”I’m no medical expert, but I can manage some first aid if needed”

Josh started pulling his pokeballs off his belt, at first only pulling out grubbin and bounsweet’s, but then decided to let out all of his pokemon. Honedge and Frillish floated awkwardly at the side while Gabby seemed preoccupied with rubbing her hide against a tree.

Murkrow took roost on Josh’s shoulder, purposefully keeping a beady eye on Luna in a way that made it obvious the young woman was being watched.

Luna stood rigid, returning the pokemon’s glare. ”Tell the bird that there’s no free medical care for annoying kidnappers.” She growled, with all the maturity of a first grader.

Turning on her heels, she proceeded to ignore the bird’s existence while taking care of her own pokemon. One by one, Luna took them out of their pokeballs and examined them, her fingers caressing their feathers and skin in search on little wounds and bruises, her worry washing over her previous anger. She looked after them with an almost motherly love, applying unknown ointments and bandages to their wounds while humming soft lullabies to help them rest.

Everything was so calm inside her little bubble.

And then she turned around, and reality came back.

Grubbin was less than pleased with Josh’s attempts to clean the nicks and dents in its exoskeleton. After one particularly painful attempt, it shot a warning burst of string shot past his head.

”Grubbin…” Josh growled warningly. He reached over to his bag, which sat on the ground just outside of arms length, fumbling with it to pull it closer. The bag toppled, sending various contents spilling onto the damp ground.

Luna sighed, with Noibat once again clinging to her sweater and tearing even more holes in it. ”Want some help?” She asked, an without waiting for an answer she took Josh’s hand and started guiding it through the pokemon’s body, softly pressing a series of points. ”You have to relax him first, bug or not, if his muscles are too tense it will be difficult to treat him.” She muttered, moving a little closer to take hold of Josh’s other hand, hugging him from behind. ”I would do it myself, but he doesn’t like me at all, so…” She left the sentence hanging, shrugging at the end.

Josh’s back straightened as Luna pushed up against him. He started to comment, but Grubbin’s response to the ministrations shifted his focus. Soon, the small bug type was cooing contentedly, and Josh was able to wipe the dirt crusting around the wounds. They seemed to be healing well, so Josh let it go back to rooting around in the plant life around the pond.

Before Luna could leave, Bounsweet demanded her turn at attention, rubbing up against both Josh and Luna’s hands. Without giving it much thought, the young woman moved closer, resting her head on Josh’s free shoulder and letting most of her weight rest on his back, pushing him to the front. It almost looked like he was about to give her a piggyback ride.

Josh’s face was red, and he was trying his hardest to follow Luna’s motions as she massaged the grass type and looked over the wounds. Suddenly, Luna stopped and Bounsweet looked up with an inquisitive expression.

”Oh…” She muttered to herself, maybe too close to his ear. ”It seems that a new leaf is growing.” She hummed, nuzzling against Josh’s hair as she thought. ”It might not be a problem, but some plant-like pokemon require you to periodically dispose of the older leaves so the new ones can grow properly...” She stared at the sky for a moment, before turning to look at Josh. Her nose was poking his cheek and to say there was an inch of space between them would be an exaggeration. ”I haven’t dealt with Bounsweets before, what kind of care do they need?”

He shrugged, immediately flushing again as it caused Luna to shift against him. His response took a couple of tries to come out. ”Make sure she has food and water? Grass types weren’t really something I studied.” He started to speak again, but Luna moved, causing his train of thought to vanish.

”What do you mean ‘it isn’t something you studied’?” She asked, letting go of his hands and moving to the side, putting some distance between them. There was a subtle edge to her voice, like the calm before a storm. ”This creature is your responsibility. You need to know how to take care of her.” There was something on her voice, on her eyes, that made it obvious.

He had just entered a minefield.

Josh’s lips curled and tightened, ”I didn’t ask for her. The only pokemon I know how to handle are Tauros, Miltank and Herdier. Because in Arkiedo, you only study what they think you will use.” He snapped, worrying he sounded harsher than he should.

One could almost feel Luna’s self-awareness dissolving in her anger. ”Whether you asked for her or not is irrelevant. You accepted to take care of her, a pokemon is their trainer’s responsibility. She is your responsibility, you have to know how to take proper care of her… of all of them.” There was something dark lurking inside Luna’s eyes, something that turned them cold and made them burn at the same time.

Josh didn’t meet her gaze, but he did narrow his eyes. ”I’m not a Trainer. I never wanted to be one. I didn’t go out of my way to catch all of these pokemon, somebody thought it would be a good idea.” He stroked Bounsweet’s calyx and she cooed, releasing a sweet aroma that quickly filled the air around the small pool. He sighed, starting to gather up the spilled contents of his bag, just to have something to do other than focus on Luna’s anger.

”You don’t become a trainer just because you throw a pokeball at some animal and get a nice ID.” Luna muttered, a hint of hurt mixed in all her anger. ”You become a trainer because they accept you as such. Because they take you as part of their families and spend the rest of their lives by your side. She stands up, only to go kneel down beside her own pokemon. One by one, she returns them to their pokeballs, until only Midnight is left. ”They follow you everywhere, no matter how far away from their home you take them, and they love unconditionally for all of their lives. They cuddle with you when you’re alone in an empty house and they stand up for you when you can’t stand up for yourself. They defend you without reason and protect you from all harm, though they’re small and helpless themselves.” She picks the sleeping owl up, carefully cradling him in her arms. ”They believe in you no matter how useless you are and get excited when they see you no matter how unimportant your existence might be. No matter what you do or who you pretend to be, for them you can only be their precious friend.” She holds him close, bitter tears of anger rolling down her face. ”To treat them as anything less, to not return their kindness by at least looking after their safety, it’s just…”

Luna struggles with the words for a moment, while her anger melts away and takes a new form.

”... I don’t know…” She said after a moment, her voice empty and tired. ”I guess…” She started again, talking a neutral tone that Josh hadn’t heard her use before, so devoid of emotion. ”I guess I was expecting you to care a little more… at least about someone who loves you so much…”

Josh shook his head as he looked at Bounsweet. ”I do things my way. If you want to teach me what you know about caring for her, fine. But don’t imply I’d just let her, or any of them, waste away.” He stood up, starting to speak more when Murkrow dived into the few items left, coming out of the dive with a black stone in her beak. Both she and the stone began to glow.

”That’s the…. Dusk Stone?” Josh asked, looking at Luna for an explanation.

Murkrow’s form began to expand, its stubby wings becoming long sweeping arcs. The hat like collection of feathers took a more defined form, as its beak lengthened. Letting out a cry, it settled on a branch nearby, eyeing the two humans.

Josh looked again at Luna, but she didn’t seem to notice. Fumbling in his pockets, he pulled out his pokedex, pointing it at the large black bird.

“Honchkrow…” Josh muttered. He looked over the entries, then again at Luna. ”Wait, that was my dusk stone!” He stepped towards Honchkrow, raising a finger. The bird took off, gliding down just out of Josh’s reach. It let out an imitation of what Josh had said, then flapping its wings as if to say it didn’t care.

”Just what I need, a bird that steals from me…” Josh said, glaring at Luna as if he held her responsible.

The young woman paid no attention to his actions, staring down at the ground while lost in thought.

Josh huffed and recalled Honchkrow. The bird vanished in a flash of light, only able to get out half of the cry it uttered. He turned, and recalled Gabby, who had nearly stripped the bark off the tree she’d been rubbing against.

”This is just all fantastic. Makes me wonder just how it could possibly get worse.”

Above him, the clouds rumbled as raindrops began to fall.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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In the blink of an eye, the little drops became a sudden downpour. Around the two trainers, the plants shook with the fury of the drops. Puddles formed on the road as raindrops shook the leafy canopy above the two trainers.

As the drops began pelting them, Luna and Josh ducked into a small hollow formed by thick evergreen boughs. Josh flapped the water from his duster as Luna watched the rain fall outside their makeshift shelter.

”Hey…” Josh started, but his voice faltered. He cleared it, and took a step towards Luna. ”Look, I’m sorry. It hasn’t been the best start to being a trainer, and you’re right. I should do better.”

He shifted on his feet, clearly uncomfortable. Luna turned to face him, her eyes sharp on his face, reminding him of a bird of prey.

Josh sighed, then took in a deep breath. ”If you don’t mind… I’d like…” Those eyes were intense on him, and he faltered. ”I’d like it if you would work on me about caring for my pokemon.”

His pokemon. What an odd thought. Even after being on the road for days, it was an odd turn from how he thought his life was going to go.

Luna stared at him for an increasingly uncomfortable length, then nodded. ”Okay…” She muttered, eyes fixed on him. ”... I just… I wish people would be more conscious about it…” The green of her eyes became a little darker as tears of anger and impotence started to form. ”Pokemon can’t die from such little things, so trainers don’t care about it. But even if it isn’t a mortal danger they still suffer, little things like overgrown leaves and long hair make it difficult for them to move and see, you have to look after their claws, clean their ears… “ She sniffed, twisting her sweater with her hands to stop herself from crying. ”You don’t have to be a trainer if you don’t want to, you don’t have to keep them, no one should ever force you to do so… but as long as they’re yours you’re responsible for them, for their safety.” She finished with a stern voice.

Their eyes met, the tension in the air feeling like something might snap at any moment when Luna jumped. Her feet splashed and Josh looked dumbfoundedly at the sight.

The ground was covered in water.

The hollow was flooding.

He didn’t have time to respond as Luna grabbed his hand, leading him out of the small hollow into the rain and up a hill. The road was growing increasingly slick from the rain and they both slipped several times before they got to the top. Once there, she started looking at the sides of the road, pulling aside branches as she searched for something.

”“Ah!” She muttered, nearly causing Josh to fall as they ran into the underbrush. Before Josh could ask where they were going, he had to duck to avoid a rock face as Luna guided him into a cave.

The cave wasn’t big, probably an abandoned den. It was dry however, and the brush on the ledge above it kept a good deal of the water from blowing into their retreat.

Luna stood by the mouth of the cave, watching the rain as Josh set his pack down. He cursed to himself as he rummaged through his belongings, coming up with a soaked book of references for the writings of ancient peoples. He set the book on a rock, hoping it would dry out.

The contents of Josh’s bag were a mess, partially from the spill caused by the incident with Murkrow, Honchkrow now, he had to remind himself, and partially from a lack of any sort of organization.

”Do you have a-” Josh froze as he looked to Luna.

The girl was no longer swallowed by the sweater big enough to be a tent. She had stripped it and tossed the soaked garment into a pile near the door. She turned to look at him a puzzled look on her face as she started to pull up on her soaked shirt.

”What are you doing?” Josh half shouted. He could feel his face flushing as he asked the question.

”Uh… taking my shirt off?” She answered, not understanding the situation she was in. ”You should do it too, before you catch a cold or something.”

Josh stood there speechless. ”While I’m here? Are you…” He shook his head. ”You sure you trust me enough with that? You barely know me.”

”Trust you with what? Your Pokemon? You look like the responsible type, a little mean and bitter sometimes, but responsible enough.” She said, taking off her shirt a second after Josh turned around, eyes fixed on the ceiling. ”I mean, you’re a pretty decent trainer… you don’t know what you’re doing, but at least you care.” Josh could hear her rummaging through her backpack and pulling out a plastic bag. ”Most trainers are kids, some of them can barely count as teenagers. They just run around thinking that Pokemon are toys and as soon as they get bored they just throw them into the wild.” She continued.

Josh grunted noncommittally and turned back towards Luna, only to spin back around so fast his hat fell off. The young woman was now in the process of changing her shorts, and his face felt so warm he had to busy himself with his bag’s contents to focus on anything else. He tried not to think about the sound her wet clothes made when hitting the ground a moment after.

”Like, do you even know how difficult it is for a trained Pokemon to return to the wild? Let alone one that has been bred by humans?” She just went on and on, not caring about her surroundings. ”There are organizations with the sole purpose of helping Pokemon return to nature and these goddamn kids just go throwing them like they’re less than trash, just to run back home to their parents and ask for a ‘better one’... I seriously hate when people do that.” She sighed, fixing her clothes on top of a nearby rock to have them dry. ”But don’t worry, cowboy, I actually trust you a lot. You’re… nice to be around, and not half bad of a trainer.” She muttered with a smile. ”I’m sure with some practice you’ll make a good trainer in no time.”

Josh shrugged off his coat, shaking it twice to keep any water from pooling in the folds. He raised an eyebrow as he made sure Luna was dressed before turning around fully. ”That’s… Not what I meant…” He said, holding out his coat to her, ”Here, since you’re probably cold.” He had to keep his gaze from looking at her. Without the sweater, she was suddenly older looking than he’d first thought.

Luna blushed, embarrassed of how she hadn’t only misunderstood his question, but also had gone in such a lot rant afterwards. ”What?!” She put on the duster and started fidgeting with its border, her voice a little higher than usual. ”Oh, gods… I’m so sorry! And I talked for so long too!” She looked small under the coat, a different kind of small than that of the sweater. ”But, what were you talking about, then? Work? You’re pretty reliable there too!”

”Not exactly what I meant either… I meant about the changing clothes…” He managed to get out through a choking sound as he dug around in his bag.

”... what?” Luna asked, as she moved a step closer. Josh tried to not look at her, but his eyes refused to go anywhere else. ”Why would changing clothes be-?”

She followed his line of view, lower than her eyes, lower than her mouth, and then it clicked, like a single light bulb turning on in a dark room. Her face turned a soft shade of pink and her eyes grew wide as realization hit her hard, then pink turned red and her ears started to burn, her hands flew to the front, closing the duster over her chest as she spun around and she sat on the ground, curling into a ball and trying to become as small as she could. She opened her mouth and a string of sounds that could perhaps be called words poured out of it.


Words wouldn’t come to Josh. He just stood there, looking at the young woman as she reacted. Part of him wanted to tell her it was okay, while another part really wanted to ask her what she was thinking if not about her current dilemma. His brain settled on rummaging through his food bag and offering her a can of sliced aspear berries.

”Don’t… Don’t worry about it…” He said, trying to make sure he looked at her eyes, hoping it didn’t make it more awkward.

Luna took a piece and popped it into her mouth, hoping the taste would distract her a little. ”I’m just so sorry,” She flinched when her hand accidentally brushed Josh’s, almost jumping a foot away from him. ”I-I-I-I’m not used to males, I’m always with my mother so I-” She flinched again, turning away when their eyes met. ”I had forgotten that there are… social standards and… rules… for the interaction between the sexes…”

Josh nodded, though he wasn’t sure he understood. She seemed to be calming down, so he made a point of looking around the cave.

”We can’t risk a fire, no ventilation…. You can keep the duster for warmth tonight if you want.” He said, stretching as he stood.

”Wh-wh-what?!” She turned to look at him with a jump, taking off the duster in a hurry. ”There’s no-! I couldn’t possibly-! What if you feel cold during the night?! It’s your coat I-I-I’ll-!” She looked around, only to find the dirty, wet and tattered remains of her sweater lying on a corner.

That sweater wasn’t coming back.

Josh shook his head, “Its fine. I didn’t get very wet.” He smiled “We could share it if you wanted.” He teased, “Its big enough.”

The young woman turned an even darker shade of red as she started fidgeting.

”I-I-I-I mean the social constructions dictate that such a proposition between a male and a female of the human species usually comes followed by the process of mating, also known as the act of coitus, but I could also be misreading this information as I’m not an expert in the social field, therefore I would appreciate if you could further explain your intentions so I would be able to make a conscious decision after fully understanding the meaning of such words.” She said without breathing, the words just flowing out of her mouth, making her look like a nervous student talking with her teacher. ”... please?” She added at the end, almost begging.

Josh let out a nervous laugh, almost choking on some berry. “I just meant to keep warm. Nothing else, I swear.”

She nodded so long and so fast that it looked like her head was going to fall. ”Oh, of course! Of course!” She agreed, opening the duster for him to move closer, a little smile of relief on her face. ”Right, there’s no way you could be interested in mating with me! We haven’t even gone through half of the necessary courtship rituals and I can hardly be considered a genetically acceptable partner, let alone being appropriate in the social aspect and having an attractive physical appearance!” She laughed it off.

Josh frowned, “You’re attractive…” He turned red, then shook his head, “Wait, have we done any of the courtship rituals, as you called them?”

”Well, you have offered me from your food and, technically, shelter,” She mentioned, pointing towards the duster. ”Those two are pretty common among birds, though dancing and grooming are also pretty standard… Oh! And also fighting with other males for the females attention!” She enumerated with her fingers.

Josh just nodded, then began his prep work for getting ready. He started looking through the book, deciding it was ruined, and trying to make the most of the fading sunlight.

Luna wrapped the duster around her, sniffing in the oddly sweet scent that must have come from his Bounsweet. She smiled to herself as she watched him, making sure to avoid looking like that’s what she was doing, like she always did.

The only difference was that, this time, whenever he turned around, she could feel as if something was twisting her insides.
"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."Hogfather - Terry Pratchett

Luna Nocte

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They did not end up sharing the duster, Josh assured Luna he was warm enough, and they had quickly fallen into a quiet routine setting up for the night. When Josh awoke, however, something was pressed up against him. He thought it might be Bounsweet at first, but it was too big.

“Mhmm?” Luna asked as he prodded her with a finger. Josh jumped back and she opened her eyes slowly.

“What are you doing?” Josh asked, nearly demanded.

Luna blinked as if considering the answer. “You were shivering.” She shrugged, sitting up and stretching, then quickly pulling the duster back around herself as she winced at the morning chill.

Camp was packed without fuss, there was nothing really to pack. Luna returned the duster to Josh, and he donned it, grateful to have its comforting weight on his shoulders.

The morning wisps danced in the scattered sunlight as bug pokemon flitted between the trees. Everything in the forest had a sluggish feel as if nature itself was struggling to awake.

It gave Josh a sense of peace.

The road was sloping downward as they found their first human contact. There were two trainers on the side of the road, one of whom had been hurt. She lay sprawled on the ground as her companion tended to her wounds with leaves.

“What happened?” Luna asked as she started rummaging through her pack to find medical supplies. She drew out some bandages and started shoving over the man helping the young woman.

He tried to look upset, but he looked more tired than anything. Since Luna seemed to be helping, he turned to Josh.

“Some man with a funny accent was demanding people battle him. He had a weavile that kept hitting the trainers instead of the pokemon!”
The man was clearly agitated, and Josh edged back a little. “Dude was strong too!”

The woman, now able to sit up without moaning in agony nodded in agreement. She pointed down the road, in the direction Luna and Josh were headed. “He was going that way. I’m going to call the police, so maybe just wait until they deal with it?”

Josh froze, a pang of panic gripping his heart. Calling the police was something one didn’t do in Arkeido. It always lead to bad things. He looked at Luna, and she stepped closer to him.

“Why don’t you go ahead, I’m going to see if he hurt any of the other trainers.” She whispered. She pointed to a small trail travelling along the road, “If you keep off the main road, maybe you can avoid him.”

Josh nodded. It made sense.

They wished each other luck, and he took off into the underbrush. Branches whipped at his arms and legs, and he nearly tripped once or twice on a hidden root. The air in the forest felt heavy and tense, making Josh feel uneasy.

He came out of the underbrush into sudden sunlight. The world was suddenly painful to look at and he shielded his eyes.

“Ah, another one, so good of you to come.” A heavily accented voice said, causing Josh’s heart to plummet into his stomach. As he focused watery eyes on the source, the feeling grew to a sense of dread.

The man was tall, with greying hair cut short. At his side was a black pokemon with sharp claws that flexed them menacingly. Icy blue energy coated the surface of the claws.

“And where do you think you are going?” The man paused as Josh lowered his arm, “Anton,is that you, it cannot be?” His eyes lit first with recognition, then with distrust and finally anger. He glared at Josh, as if his very presence was offensive.

Josh froze, not trusting himself to speak.

“You cannot be Anton, my friend Anton is dead. Weavile, Ice Shard!” He swept his arm forward, nearly shouting the command.

The pokemon struck faster than Josh could react. Ice formed in the air, streaking forward and slamming into Josh with enough force to spin him around. Parts of him were numb from the cold as he collapsed, his breath shallow from the pain. One of his pokeballs had gotten loose, and rolled into his vision. He reached out towards it, trying to pull it back to him. Instead, the button depressed, and Bounsweet emerged, looking at Josh.

“Swoo!” She cried, nudging Josh. She turned and spun her calyx at the man and his pokemon, and leaves sprung from the appendage, but both opponents dodged the attack with ease. The man whistled and more ice struck Bounsweet. She screamed and collapsed, barely managing to crawl towards Josh and climb into the crook of his arm. Josh groaned, trying to get up as heavy bootsteps sounded nearby.

“I do not know who you are, but pray we do not meet again.” The man hissed as he bent down, his boot inches from Josh’s face. The boot drew back and then struck, and blackness claimed Josh.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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Pain was the first thing Josh became aware of. The second was the soft feeling of Bounsweet pressed against him. He seemed to be holding her, and he couldn’t remember why. Had he fallen asleep?

It came back to him about the time he heard the woman speaking. It sounded like she was shouting from far away, though it quickly became much louder as he became more aware of what was going on.

”Sir, are you alright? I am Marie Le’Fait, of the Godai Central Investigative Unit. Please, you and your pokemon are hurt, do you need medical assistance?” Her words slowly coalesced into something recognizeable, and Josh frowned. Suddenly, the strange man, Bounsweet’s injuries, and his own all came back and he sat upright, wincing at the pain as he did so.

The woman stepped back as Josh rose, cautiously reaching for her pokeballs. Josh’s focus on Bounsweet caused her to relax and she watched him warily.

Bounsweet was cut in several places, and she seemed to still be unconscious. Josh muttered to himself as he looked for her pokeball, starting to panic when he couldn’t find it. Picking up on what he intended, the woman stood taller, and then kicked the ball to Josh, who muttered a half incoherent thanks as he recalled his pokemon.

”What is your name?” The woman asked politely.

Josh met her gaze. ”Joshua Warden.”

She frowned. ”You are from Arkeido? What is your connection to the man attacking the trainers? Were you two working together?” She demanded. Josh leaned back and then groaned in pain at his lacerations.

”I don’t know him, and he attacked me. My pokemon needs help.” Josh retorted as he started to stand, the pain making him woozy on his feet.

The woman crossed her arms. ”Sir, you are part of an ongoing investigation. How do I know you aren’t working with this man? Maybe you had a falling out.”

”He’s not! He’s working with Professor Cassandra!” Luna’s voice, soft as it was, seemed so loud and welcome and beautiful to Josh’s ears. She marched forward, presenting her Xtranciever with the proper documentation. The police officer started to speak, but Luna interrupted her. ”The man fled towards Wisteur.”

The woman gave Luna a level stare, but nodded and took off. She glanced at Josh as she walked past, ”Stay out of trouble.” She said and quickly vanished around the bend of the road.

”She could have just said ‘I’m watching you’ and been more honest.” Josh grunted. He was about to thank Luna when she stomped her foot, her face red enough to make him worry for his safety.

”You were supposed to stay safe! What if I wasn’t there?” She demanded.

”I didn’t exactly plan this…” Josh started, but a chirp from his own XTranciever caused him to look down. A second later, Luna’s emitted a similar signal.

-Josh, I need you to head to Lake Serenity for some samples. Luna has some things I need her to do before heading back to the Monastery, so I’m afraid you’ll be on your own. Please take the subway to Cascadia and pick up the supplies as listed below. You might also consider a fishing rod, I hear the lake is a well known fishing spot.

Professor Cassandra Nocte-

Josh looked up at Luna to find her looking at him. They both shifted uncomfortably, and Luna finally spoke up. “Use the PC to send that apricorn to the professors. Actually, send some of your pokemon too. They’ll care for them and you should really only focus on caring for a few right now.” She quickly began typing instructions, then sent them to his XTranciever.

Josh nodded, feeling like he should say something else. He and Luna walked together in silence, waited in line at the subway station at silence, and bought their tickets without a word to each other. As they waited for their respective trains, Josh turned to her.

”See you soon.”

Luna smiled, and nodded.
Josh Warden • Historian • Total EXP Gained: 87 • Dians: 9472 • Location: Skytouch

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RP Notes

  • Mmm wound cleaning~ nomnomnomm.
  • I do enjoy Josh’s thoughts.
  • Yeah JoSHHHHH! Being all nice n’ shit to da Pokemans. The audacity!
  • Omfg Luna hahahah. I doubt that was a mating ritual too.
  • Oooh nice nice imagery.
  • Lmfao ya’ll be ruffling feathers over here.
  • The louder the better? Same gurl, same.
  • Oooh a battle! I don’t get to be a spectator to other battles aside from the characters so how refreshing!
  • Hohohoho foreshadowing.
  • Aahahhahaa medicine is a gentle skill~
  • Oop, she’s right you know. GG Josh. R.I.P.
  • Dat backhanded compliment tho. XD
  • Boi THAT WAS TENSE. I ship it.
  • Mmmm Anton eh? Neato~

Topic Record

  • Luna and Joshua are currently in Skytouch Forest
  • Luna and Joshua bond together with each other and their Pokemon.
  • Luna and Joshua encounter some trainers battling.
  • Luna and Joshua continue along the path.
  • Josh finds a green apricorn! (+1 Green Apricorn)
  • Josh gets a Delibird delivery! (Already cataglogued)
  • Murkrow takes Josh’s Dusk Stone and evolves into Honchcrow! (See below)
  • The duo rest for the night.
  • Josh is attacked by an unknown assailant.
  • Josh and Luna end up at a town.
  • Josh and Luna buy subway tickets and split.
  • Josh heads towards Serenity Lake…
  • Luna continues on her journey…

Topic Evaluation
Luna Nocte

TAT: - Seeing the Sights: 5 AP
- Nursing: 9 AP
- TLC: 10 AP
- Oooh Shiny: 6 AP

Topic: 0 EXP
Evaluation: 23 EXP
Total: 23 EXP

Dians: *dian* 3,187

Bonuses: Long Duration, Star Posts
Penalties: N/A

Evaluation Wrap-Up (Click here!)

Joshua Warden

TAT: - Seeing the Sights: 5 AP
- Silver Tongue: 3 AP
- Nursing: 6 AP
- TLC: 5 AP

Topic: 0 EXP
Evaluation: 22 EXP
Total: 22 EXP

Dians: *dian*3,255

Bonuses: Long Duration, Star Posts
Penalties: N/A

Evaluation Wrap-Up (Click here!)

Note: Bonuses/Penalties have already been calculated into your rewards!
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Sonak Paetdee
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